Traumatized at The Happiest Place on Earth

Today I'm back with Bootsnall and the Indie Travel Challenge. This weeks prompt...Family Travel.

What is your earliest childhood memory of traveling with your family? 

My earliest childhood memory - travel or otherwise - scarred me for life. To add insult to injury, it happened at the so called "Happiest Place on Earth." Here's the story....

In 1985, my family started what would become the most beloved tradition of my childhood. That October we traveled to Disney for the first time, and would return the same week every year for the next decade. The only thing that outnumbered the memories made during these trips, were the tears that were shed on the drive home every year.
On the Astro Orbiter

For this inaugural trip, my parents booked us at Disney's Contemporary Resort. One afternoon while my Dad was on the golf course, Mom decided to pass some time by taking my brother and I - aged 4 and 11 months - to the Contemporary's legendary game room.

After insisting on being allowed to push the down button, the doors to the elevator opened, and I hopped on in a heap of excitement. Only, I was alone...
From another early trip...Sweet hair Mom.

The wheel to my brother's stroller had become stuck on an ashtray - remember those? - outside the elevator, and Mom was unable to free it before the doors closed with me inside. Living every parent's worst nightmare, my Mom was forced to listen to the blood curdling sound of my scream as the elevator headed to the first floor...


The elevator reached the lobby, and as if I wasn't scared enough, announced "First Floor." Major hi-tech for 1985. I exited the elevator continuing my glass shattering wail. Just then, a lady came from around the front desk and consoled me until my Mom arrived a few minutes later. It seemed like an hour...
Still my favorite hotel in the world...

As I've scanned the Gringotts vault in my head, I'm quite certain this is my earliest childhood memory, and it is still remarkably clear 27 years later. It also seems rather appropriate that it involves two of my favorite things....a hotel and Disney. Perhaps in some strange way, that front desk agent coming to my "rescue" set both of these passions in place at that an early age.

Today, the Contemporary is hands down my favorite hotel in the world. The game room is long gone, and its cutting edge design in 1985 is a stale and soulless facade in 2012. Yet the Contemporary will forever be connected to the soul of this traveler, all thanks to the time I was traumatized at "The Happiest Place on Earth."

~Insert Dude-like Closing Here~